Taking the place of grains are Paleo baking flours such as almond, cassava, coconut, hazelnut, cashew, tiger nut, arrowroot and tapioca flours. I typically like to mix two or three together to get the texture and flavor I’m looking for.
Pure stevia is allowed because it’s extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant making it fully natural. The leaves are used to make tea that is dehydrated to convert to powdered stevia, which is 300 times the sweetness of table sugar. But be careful that you are actually buying pure stevia. There are many sweeteners on the market that mix stevia with other types of sweeteners. For example, Truvia combines stevia with erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol that can cause digestive problems for those who are sensitive to it.
The attitude in the Paleo community towards these seems to be softening. One of my favorite Paleo bloggers, Mark Sisson, recently wrote, “My (non-medical) opinion is, if you're not sure, eliminate all dairy for a few weeks, then bring back (highly ranked) dairy foods one at a time, in small amounts, given you're not allergic. See how your body responds.”
In his blog he ranks the different types of dairy, so when he uses the term “highly ranked” he has raw, fermented, full-fat dairy milk, yogurt, and cheeses at the top of his list. Look for his blog to see how he ranks the various categories of dairy.
The same is true with beans and legumes. Eating more than a small quantity is still discouraged but having them occasionally is probably OK if you are sure you can tolerate them.
At my market stand I had a very condensed version of this post on a sign titled, “So what is Paleo,” which I also provided as a handout. One of its bullet points is:
• The Paleo Diet is not a diet to lose weight, although you can. But you can also stay the same or gain weight.
The Paleo Diet gives no direction as to how much you can eat of its approved foods. So how you want to use it to effect weight loss or gain is left to you. That’s why when asked at the market what I thought was the best diet for losing weight, I would tell people that combining Paleo with Weight Watchers would be a great choice. Another diet to combine it with for weight loss is the Mediterranean Diet and yet another is the Zone Diet. I’m sure there are many others.